Wednesday, 2 July 2014

TWDTaiW Part 5

It seems odd, perhaps, that I have chosen to read this document over many others.But I do feel it is a matter of discussion at present, and staying abreast of the issue allows me to have chewed on the matters and hopefully be more confident to share the Good News through the lens of human love. The subtitle of the working document is: THE PASTORAL CHALLENGES OF THE FAMILY IN THE CONTEXT OF EVANGELIZATION. Let's be rooted in the Gospel. 

Not receiving communion does not mean you can't participate in Mass. Active participation in the Liturgy does not mean being a reader or EMHC or server or usher or any other such activity. We participate by entering into the mystery of the sacrifice of Our Lord at Calvary. We participate by being open to being converted in our hearts through the Word and Sacrament present. It's means we are present not just physically, but also spiritually and intellectually. See here-

Let's just read the final parts of the document together.

We all know that many people do not agree with, or do not follow, the Church's doctrine on artificial contraception under the guise of conscience or responsible parenthood (#123). An issue that I have struggled to reconcile is 'why is it okay to not want children and use 'natural family planning' but not okay to use other birth control if it has the same intention and effect?'. The document is primarily collecting the responses of the faithful and asking questions, so it doesn't go into detail. But it tells us the answer is to do with human ecology, the dignity of the sexual relationship and openness to life. (#124)

The Church's view on marriage is built up from first principles which are no longer largely common to the mainstream mindset. The new ideas of gender over sex, affects our understanding of the human person and fatherhood/motherhood. We need to start talking about the matters clearer, to help people of good will understand where the Church is coming from (at least). (#127)

Chastity is the character of love. The beauty of married life is given value by the example of Christ laying down his life (for his bride, the Church). (#131) Parents not only are called to be co-creators, but should lead their children to God. The shouldn't hold back from this task, for fear of forcing their beliefs on their children as might have happened in the 60s/70s. (#135). Of course, children are the obvious ambassadors of Christ to that lost generation. (#137)

Irregular is a word we use to describe situations, not persons (#138). We need to be clear that we are loving everyone, and not use words that exclude people from the love of God in Christ Jesus. People in 'irregular' situations approach the Church in 3 typical ways: 1, respectfully; 2, negatively perhaps driven by shame or confusion; 3, seeing the church as a parent who will support and provide education without making demands (#141). Catholic schools are powerful initiatives for people to look at the faith, and perhaps be instructed in her ways. Perhaps, some parents see this as a compromise between depriving the child of religiosity and 'forcing' baptism upon them without choice. (#145). The general consensus of dioceses ('particular churches'  in Vaticaneese) is to welcome any child put forward for sacramental preparation.

Creative ways of meeting the needs of families include side-by-side parent and child Christian formation, mass weddings (to reduce the cost to couples) and provision of prayer groups and retreats for them. (#147). I would add that part of our approach to children's catechisis must include forming them as men or women - we need to serve the needs of young people to form themselves in their sexuality. Though, I'm certainly hopeful that steps are being taken in this regard. Sacramental formation should be reviewed - perhaps abandoning set programmes leading to a sacrament in favour of more on-going and holistic formation and providing the sacraments when an individual is spiritually mature and disposed.  (#152) The rite of Christian initiation for Children could be more widely used - see this church website for an idea of the RCIC )

The document ends by reminding us that we draw out all faith, hope and chartity from the Blessed Trinity and commends families (and the upcomign synod) to the Holy Family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph - hear our prayer!

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